I've been to Dubai before but only for a few days before heading to Australia. When I left, I couldn't get it out of my head that I needed wayyyy more time in that amazing city. If people could do whatever they wanted with no limitations of money or imagination, that's what Dubai is. It's like giving a 5yr old a crayon and paper and telling them to draw the the future, and then adults building that vision.
This place is an insane balance between past and future, there is no present. You can start in Old Dubai and take a wooden boat to the other side of Dubai Creek where million dollar super cars zoom by you.
These boats cruise all through Dubai Creek to get you from one side of the city to the other. At times, it gets super busy and looks like rush hour in the water. They cost only 1 Dirham which equates to about $0.29.
On our first day, after spending the afternoon in Old Dubai, we had to hang out by the Burj Khalifa in downtown Dubai. We knew we were going to go to the observation deck in a few days so we just took the time to check out the fountains bellow and areas around it. We went a couple of days before New Years so every place was super packed with tourists visiting the city to ring in the new year. If you ever have an opportunity to visit Dubai, I would recommend not coming during this time for that reason.
After hitting up the X-Dubai skate park for a little bit, we got to walk across the street and cool down at Kite Beach. I've been to a couple of beaches in Dubai and this was the best one that I've seen. It's HUGE so I can't ever imagine it being too crowded. There are a bunch of nice places to each on the beach along with lots of activities for families and kids.
Throughout the week, I was trying to go to Jumeirah beach to get a close up of the infamous Burj Al Arab hotel but I'm kind of glad that we didn't. I probably would've ended up with a generic looking photo of the sailboat hotel that everyone has seen already. I shot this from Kite Beach which had a clear view of the hotel covered in the Dubai haze. I'm extremely happy with this shot and it's easily one of my favorites from the whole trip.
We were referred to go check out the Miracle Garden which is a crazy place where pretty much everything is made of flowers. Photographically, I didn't enjoy it too much since I'm more into shooting natural environments but it is still a very visually appealing place. Also, the corn on the cob and strawberry juices from the stands throughout the garden are top notch!
We were also referred to go check out Global Village which completely took me by surprise. It's a massive place where there are sections for all these countries throughout the world with tons of vendors in each selling products from their native lands. This place is HUUUUGE! We spent a good amount of time there and didn't even come close to checking everything out. I wish I had more photos of this place but even the photos wouldn't show the instanity of Global Village.
We finally made it to the top of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. It sticks out like a sore thumb from the skyline, you can't miss it. I've been to the top before but it was at night and in the dark, it's a completely different experience. It's nice but since the city is surrounded by dessert, you can't see too far since there are no city lights or anything.
Even though this is the tallest building in the world, it's hard to tell how high up you are when you're looking down. I've been to the observation deck of the Freedom Tower in NYC and I remember seeing the view for the first time and saying to myself "WOW!". There is so much to see in every angle and you get a real scale of how high up you are since there are so many buildings around you. In the Burj Khalifa, you're much higher but since the city isn't that developed yet, it's hard to tell how high in the sky you really are. Don't get me wrong, it's extremely impressive but I just wasn't "wow'd" like I was at the Freedom Tower.
This city is always being developed at such a fast pace. In a few years, I feel like this experience will be much better when the city has more buildings to compare yourself too when you're 148 floors up. However, when you're in the city with the WORLDS tallest building, you can't pass up the opportunity to head to the top.
when you purchase a ticket to the top of the Burj Khalifa, there are two options. You can buy one for the 124th/125th floors or you can spend a few extra bucks and go all the way to the 148th floor. It's well worth spending the extra money for that. Only 30 people can be up there at a time and you get an hour, so it's almost like a private little party. It's very roomy up there and there are people there handing out little snacks, juices, and coffee throughout your stay. After your time is done, everyone has to move down to the 125th floor where it's super crowded and way more chaotic. You can have wait to get views up against the windows, you're squeezing in between tourists to get around and there are no luxurious couches to lounge on while you're served your ordurves.
So, the main reason we went to Dubai was to celebrate new years. I've seen all the hype around the world's largest fireworks show and had to see it for myself. Luckily, our good friend, Sam, who we stayed with had a rooftop of his villa that overlooked the downtown Dubai skyline. This was my favorite photo of the night.